A 'Supernatural' Sweep
by Ken Barnes, USA TODAY

02/24/00-Updated 12:29 AM ET

Santana made history at Wednesday night's 42nd Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, tying Michael Jackson's 1983 record of eight victories.

The sweep, which included wins in the record and album of the year categories, capped a stunning comeback year for the San Francisco band and its leader, guitarist Carlos Santana. In a 30-year career, Santana and his namesake band previously were nominated for two Grammys. (Carlos Santana won 1988's best rock instrumental award.)

This year they were nominated for 10, and the composers of their No. 1 hit Smooth also won for song of the year. (Their only misses were best instrumental composition and pop collaboration, where they were nominated twice.) Santana's 1999 album, Supernatural, has spent 36 weeks on the charts, eight of them at No. 1.

In another triumph for a veteran artist, Cher won her first Grammy in a 36-year career when Believe was named best dance recording.

Christina Aguilera defeated Britney Spears in a hotly contested battle for best new artist that also featured Macy Gray, Kid Rock and surprise nominee Susan Tedeschi.

Heeding last year's lesson, when Ricky Martin's performance of La Copa de la Vida highlighted the telecast, the Grammys devoted a lengthy segment to Latin music, featuring current star Marc Anthony, veteran Cuban musicians Ibrahim Ferrer, Chucho Valdes and Poncho Sanchez, and - of course - a return performance from Martin, dancing amid flames while singing Maria Maria.

(Kid Rock also employed the flame motif in his performance.)

Double Grammy winners the Dixie Chicks - with a newly brunette Emily Robison - added a touch of spousal abuse and revenge murder to the proceedings when they performed Goodbye Earl while its video (starring Dennis Franz as Earl) was projected behind them.

Also making prominent use of video images were TLC and Spears in the course of major-production medleys.

The Backstreet Boys contributed a "salute to vocal groups of the past," performing snippets of songs by the Bee Gees, The Temptations, Boyz II Men and the Backstreet Boys (their new single). Later in the show, they backed Elton John in a version of Philadelphia Freedom.

Other multiple winners included TLC (three), Sting, Shania Twain (absent in order "to have her belly waxed," presenter Clint Black said), jazz vocalist Diana Krall, longtime country-swing aggregation Asleep at the Wheel, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas (winner of three), veteran Barry White and rap newcomer Eminem.

In the contemporary pop field, the only category Santana or Sting failed to qualify for was female vocal, won by Sarah McLachlan. Tony Bennett won the traditional pop vocal award.

Along with two Santana victories, rock winners included Lenny Kravitz for male vocal, Sheryl Crow for female vocal and the Red Hot Chili Peppers for best song. Metallica triumphed in the hard-rock field, Black Sabbath won the heavy-metal nod for a new version of the classic Iron Man, and Beck took alternative album honors.

TLC and Barry White dominated R&B, while Whitney Houston picked up the female-vocal trophy. The Roots with Erykah Badu won the one rap category (group performance) not taken home by Eminem.

The Dixie Chicks won two country awards (best album and best group vocal). George Jones won just his second-ever Grammy, for country male vocal. Shania Twain snagged the female vocal award and song of the year.

Krall, a surprise contender for album of the year, did win the jazz vocal award. In the gospel field, Stephen Curtis Chapman won the pop/contemporary album trophy, and Yolanda Adams took contemporary soul gospel honors.

B.B. King won his ninth Grammy, for traditional blues album, and Robert Cray picked up his fifth, for contemporary blues album. In folk, June Carter Cash won the traditional award, and Tom Waits, who may have been surprised to find himself in the category, was the contemporary folk victor.

Phil Collins won his seventh award, for his Tarzan soundtrack album.

 

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Last Updated May 7, 2000